Audiere 64 bit MSVC 2005 development binaries

I needed a Windows 64 bit development version of the audio library Audiere but couldn’t find any precompiled binaries for x64, so I’m posting them here for any future googlers.

http://www.codedojo.com/files/audiere-1.9.4-win32_win64_msvc2005.zip

Why did I need Audiere?  Well, I had switched the Growtopia 64 bit client to use SDL2_mixer and immediately had a rash of complaints from poor audio mixing to no audio at all.

Tried various bit rates, buffer sizes, and driver settings (directsound, etc) , still had weird “drunk” timings and distortion when mixing 4+ sounds.  I got it to the point of “not that bad, on my computer at least” but many players still had major problems.  So back to Audiere we go!

Versions used:

audiere: 1.9.4 (?) forked from Chad Austin’s Audiere on github
flac: 1.3.1
libogg: 1.3.2
libvorbis: 1.3.5

Note:  The 64 bit binaries are missing mod/xm support as I didn’t need them for my project and was too lazy to find and include the Dumb source.

If you’d like an easy way to compile your own 32/64 bit version for MSVC2005, I’ve thrown the entire thing including supporting libraries on github so you can build from source in a single MSVC 2005 solution in Audiere/vc8/audiere.sln:

audiere_solution

Github: https://github.com/SethRobinson/Audiere

Seth’s VR game reviews

It’s an exciting time in the world of VR because everybody is experimenting with various ideas and control schemes – the “genres” are being invented right in front of us!

Here are some quick thoughts on some games and apps I’ve played.

(most of the pics are taken from the store pages, I only linked the Steam-based games as I don’t think you can directly link to Rift store pages)

The Lab (Vive)

vive_the_lab

This is Valve’s thing, it’s a bunch of mini-games experimenting with various controls.  This is the first thing you should download and is better than most of the other stuff for sale.  Did I mention it’s free?

Holopoint (Vive)

vive_holopoint

This is my favorite game on VR.  You jump, dodge, and do cool moves as you shoot arrows in all directions.  You kind of enter a zone, like racquetball or tennis, and your body even gets an equivalent work out.

In many arcade type games, if you don’t shoot something in time, it explodes, shooting projectiles at you.  Here, that’s true, but if you DO shoot it in time, it STILL explodes, just with more controlled timing.  That tweak is what really makes this work.

Audioshield (Vive)

vive_audio_shield

The first VR Rhythm game?  It’s another “must have” and really delivers, but it could be so much better.  Needs the features of a modern Dance Dance Revolution including manual editing of song data (it’s currently all dynamically generated based on song audio as far as I can tell), combo scoring, playlists, pro-made song library, etc.

Overly exuberant particle effects sometimes hurt gameplay by obscuring upcoming “notes”.

Farlands (Rift)

This Oculus showcase title might be the highest quality thing out there for the Rift right now.  Like Lucky’s Tale, for some reason it seems to be aimed at a very young audience.  The annoying overly cutesy side-kick that won’t leave you alone will have you whispering “kill jester”.

But this game (?) does perfectly emphasize the Rift’s strengths – a 360 degree seated experience that doesn’t make you nauseous and they nailed navigating with your little remote thing.  The scenery is gorgeous.

There is a “you have to wait until tomorrow to see more” time-based content gate on this.  Huh.

 

Budget Cuts Demo (Vive)

vive_budget_cuts_demo

If you want to bang your head on the floor trying to look through a hole and have a heart attack as you throw a knife at a robot while screaming for your life, this is the game!

It’s just a demo but it has nicely found a way to merge room VR with larger spaces using a portal like “see before you hop through” mechanic.  It’s a must get, and will be an insta-buy for me when the full version is released. (Steam page says it’s coming later this year)

Ok, screenshots are too much work, so now we’re on to mini-reviews that don’t even have pics.

ADR1FT (Rift)

Nope nope nope.  Jetting around at multiple speeds while rotating in every direction is exactly what you never want to do with VR.  About five minutes in I was ready to hurl.  To be fair, it and most of the other Rift retch-inducing games available are labeled “Comfort: Intense” so I should have known better. I guess some people can handle this type of thing? If you want to star in the movie Gravity as well as enjoy technicolor yawning, this might be for you.

Job Simulator (Vive): Solid but .. it does sometimes feel like a job to play. I guess what I mean is if you get 90% through one of the four job’s “story” and you crash, you probably won’t want to replay it again to see the last 10%. I guess it’s good, just sort of slow paced and linear while simultaneously letting you play with a bunch of virtual toys.

Fantastic Contraption (Vive):  I love the concept and they really nailed the interface but why does part of my car fall apart but the identical thing I did on the other side doesn’t?! What am I doing wrong? My kingdom for a stiff joint!  Only three contraption parts? You probably shouldn’t listen to anything I say here until I can at least pass level 4.

Hover Junkers (Vive): Multiplayer only, my record is 20 deaths, 0 kills. That says everything about my experience with this game.  Probably good once you figure out how to kill anything. Did I even hit that guy?  How much damage did I do?

HordeZ (Vive): Will slowly auto-floating forward down halls as you shoot horrifying realistic zombies work ok with room VR?  Answer, yes.  It’s multiplayer too but I haven’t tried that.

Zombie Training Simulator (Vive): Cartoony zombie shooting gallery. Good if the above game is too much for you I guess.

Space Pirate Trainer (Vive): Not bad, but it just made me want to play Holopoint, similar idea. Still in early access, looking forward to seeing how this shapes up.

Vanishing Realms (Vive): Interesting and probably what most people imagine a “VR fantasy experience” is going to be like.

Universe Sandbox 2 (Vive): OoOoo… I’m so glad this exists.  It’s early access and has some performance issues but spawning planets is surely something you want to do.

Tilt Brush (Vive): Google’s 3D painting app is one of the top experiences on the Vive. Explore other people’s work (wish there was more..) or make your own.  I don’t understand why all the paints are so flat. I want to paint some pipes, for instance.  Wish it came with some in-app music options, I could totally see zenning out in here. (Side note, I just noticed SculptiVR, that looks like another good one to get)

Dreadhalls (Gear VR, Rift): I’ve only played the Gear VR version so far (we’re getting into a weird place with having to re-buy the same game for various VR platforms…) but yeah, it’s very scary so it’s probably good on the Rift too.

Conclusion:

I’ve only brushed the surface, new VR apps are being released daily.

If you’ve got a favorite, let me know. I’m especially looking for room scale games that will get my heart rate going.

Rift CV1 vs Vive

rift_vs_vive

Ok, I finally got my hands on the final consumer models and have given them enough play time to feel like I know what’s going on.

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what these are: they are kits for your computer to enter the magical world of “Virtual reality” apps and games.

Which parts are the same between these devices?

Both are the same resolution.  Both run at 90hz and have roughly the same field of view. Both are USB hubs internally that add a ton of devices. (Vive takes one port, Rift takes two)

Both have their own store/in-between game area that allow you to change and buy games without taking your headset off.

Both screens don’t handle certain high contrast images great, like white text on a black background.  It sort of adds a glare or foggy type of feel due to the lensing structure.  Rift might have a slight advantage in the visuals.

The Rift

rift

The Rift headset is slightly lighter and more comfortable than the Vive. It has built-in (but removable) headphones which simplifies getting in and out of it.

The controllers packed with the Rift

It’s packaged with a tiny remote that reminds me of the Apple TV or FireTV remote.  It’s reported to be usable for 4,000 hours before needing a battery replacement – not surprising considering it doesn’t have a gyro, haptics, or anything else, it’s just for simple selections.

Strangely, it also comes with an Xbox One controller.  I only found it required for a couple games, most are ok with the tiny remote thing. I have to use it wired because they don’t include the wireless adaptor because I’m in Japan and apparently it uses radio frequencies that aren’t allowed here.  (Shhh, I imported a US Xbox One a while back, guess I’m an outlaw now)

Rift technology

This is a decent update to my old Oculus DK2.  We’ve now got 2160×1200 vs 1920×1080, faster refresh, built in mic/audio, and it’s lighter to boot.

You can now swivel a true 360 degrees because the headset has had tracking LEDs placed on the back too.

Unfortunately the tracking technology choice is what potentially dooms it, more on this later.

The Vive

vive2

Ok, now the Vive.

First off, the included earbuds are not a great experience.  They were constantly being pushed and pulled by the cabling which sometimes causes them to pop out.

While demoing the Vive to friends it’s especially awkward to be asked “could you put that back into my ear, I can’t because I’m holding these controllers”.  No way, do it yourself!

I got rid of them (the earbuds, not the friends) and am using a pair of low latency wireless headphones instead, works nicely.

The controllers packed with the Vive

These are what really make the experience something special.  The accuracy and tracking are so good you can toss one up in the air and catch it again with only the VR visuals.  I’ve noticed no jitter or occlusion issues.

Vive technology

Unlike with the Rift, you have to Boba Vila it up a bit and mount the two Vive sensors in opposite corners of your room. (actually, these little boxes just spray non-visible light around your room, it’s the devices you’re wearing/holding that do the actual sensing)

Note: When the “lighthouses” are on, they screw with other IR devices you might be using.  For example, I can’t control my room lights.

Don’t cut corners during the mounting because the moving pieces inside cause these things to slightly vibrate which could cause a shift in position.

My “room VR” space is pretty sad.  Have I mentioned I live in an apartment in Japan?  I now have a garbage can on top of my refrigerator, to give you an idea of the tetris-like compression wonders that had to be achieved to make this possible at all.

With the Oculus DK1 and DK2 I was excitedly telling people “we aren’t quite there yet, but this is going to be amazing someday”.  Kind of a “Marty, your kids are going to love it” thing.

Well, we’re there now, folks.  If you can handle the discomfort of wearing what is essentially a tethered scuba mask, it’s now possible to get your mind blown in VR.

Rift vs Vive

Vive easily wins the VR wars for now because it can also support room scale. You just don’t get sick when playing “room scale” VR (content designed for you to walk around on a 1 to 1 movement basis).

Also, the motion controls being available now would also have put it into the lead, they are a must for VR.

We can’t quite knock the CV1 out of the running yet because soon they are going to release Oculus Touch which includes another sensor and motion tracked controls.  It remains to be seen if it will accurately track at room scale at the quality the Vive does, or even if they suggest trying to set things up that way.

I’ve read that games like Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption are being re-tooled to be “forward facing experiences” for the CV1 and its new controllers, so this points to room VR/360 degree motion control play not being a main focus for the CV1.

Unfortunately, even assuming the CV1 will eventually be able to do room scale VR there would be a fragmented market between “People who don’t have the new Touch controls”, “People who do but put both sensors on their desk” and “People who tried to setup the sensors for Room VR”.

Rift store vs the Vive store

The Rift store currently has no user rating system so it’s hard to know what the best software is.

Vive uses Steam so of course it has a top notch ratings/community systems. (quiet in back, yeah, it’s not perfect, but much better than no ratings!)

Ease of Development with Vive and CV1

ue4_v4_scene

I had a simple UE4 scene with Vive + Motion controllers being tracked working in 15 minutes using this tutorial.

I found motion controller models included with my normal Steam install here: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\SteamVR\resources\rendermodels\vr_controller_vive_1_5

On import, I rotated them by 90 degrees on the Roll and Yaw and they perfectly matched.

I unplugged the Vive stuff, plugged in the Rift, checked the “Unknown sources” button in the Oculus settings, restarted UE4 and ran the same test app – it worked first try! I was only 3 inches tall but hey, that could be adjusted.

I don’t know anything about distribution builds or how hard it is to get listed in the various stores, but hey, at least it’s easy to play with out of the box.

Conclusion

Vive rules.

Planning to post some reviews of VR games/apps tomorrow.

Do you have any VR stuff? What do you think?

Try Rogue-Life, a tiny free game I made

rogue-life

Ludumdare is a game jam where they announce a theme and you make a game over the weekend just for fun and practice.

It’s a fantastic way to get your game design juices flowing as hey, no matter how bad you fail, it was only a couple days.  The time-pressure if only having a few days and HAVING to release whatever you have is great for those that like to quit projects halfway, like me.

About the “game” I made:

Rogue-Life is a weird experimental thing that crosses a board game, a rogue-like, and the hollow illusion of controlling that random dungeon of existence we’ve each received.

Can you find meaning before you “Grow” old and die? There are 5 of them to find.

Tips:

  • You are always aging (even while standing still), and you will eventually die
  • Don’t waste your life on the wrong jobs, different jobs give different emotional benefits as well as pay. For instance, a Soup Kitchen pays $0 but raises your Self Acceptance
  • Some lives cannot be happy or successful no matter what you do
  • Overcoming an obstacle (the pad-locked doors) give a bonus to all stats
  • Your stats change with age. For instance, your Physical will go down as you enter old age, and your Self Acceptance takes a hit in your teenage years
  • Meanings are marked by trophies icons – you can zoom out with your mouse wheel to see where they are easier

I’m not ever sure if it’s possible to find all “meaning” in a single life before dying. 3 out 5 is my best.

Post-mortem:

Good:

  • Well, I made what I set out to do
  • It’s funny in weird and unexpected ways, like to accept lack of control and chaos (one of the meanings) you may need to murder someone
  • “Pushing” against a job to continue working there is a nice easy way to control things
  • Got a bit more comfortable with Unity and WegGL

Bad:

  • It’s kind of boring. You end up pushing against everything without even reading what’s happening
  • The more text and numbers I removed, the better it plays. But don’t feel like doing that
  • The random stuff is way too random, each life is completely different and some don’t make sense. Hey, maybe that’s fitting though

For the daring, you can play the game in your web browser here.  Probably doesn’t work right on mobile as you need arrow keys to control stuff.

Toolfish (was $10) is now free as of today

What is Toolfish?  It’s my tiny tray app for power users that runs in the background while you’re using your Windows machine.

I’ve used this app EVERY DAY for the last 10 years and the first thing I do after buying a new computer is move my Toolfish setup to it!

It allows you to stack “Triggers” that cause “Actions“, which can also be stacked.  For instance, a trigger could be “if Ctrl-Alt-L” is down, and a certain app name is in focus, run some Actions.

Actions could be could be things like running programs, faking keystrokes, reading text out-loud via text to speech, sending an email, lots of things.

It also has other built in features like Leet-Type (NEVER USE THIS!), neat stats like how many miles you’ve moved your mouse, Smart Muting your computer if inactive, letting you know if a Webpage has changed by more than a certain percent, or a certain word exists or is missing on a website, stuff like that.  All in a tiny 1.3 MB download!

I used to use it to run Funeral Quest if it noticed it wasn’t running… helped with crashes!

It comes with a few nice hotkeys like Ctrl-Shift-G to open a browser, Ctrl-Shift-Alt-I to paste your *true* IP address, stuff like that.

It can also Monitor if a website is down,  Shutdown or reboot your computer, just tons of weird stuff.

It also has a Stealth Mode to hide the tray icon – combined with the key stroke logger, this app could be used for evil, so don’t use it that way please!

It has “Event Wizards” that let you do things like “Remind me in 5 minutes” in just a few clicks.

Some features like email checking and atomic clock adjustments are less useful these days than when I wrote them (back in the Windows 98/2000 era) so I’d ignore those features.

Anyway, this is a $10 app that is now free, so give it a shot.  I’ll keep adding little tools and utilities to it, I did add one new action for this release:  “Set Microphone level“.

Big thanks to those who bought this over the last ten years!

You can read more about it here, or just go ahead and download the full version like you know you want to here for Vista/Win7/Newer.  For Win XP, try the older version.

My plan is to continue releasing more of my stuff as free as I get time to do it.